Research Assistant Job at University of Washington
Reports To: Principal Investigator
Location: Nairobi with site visits to Mombasa, Kisumu, Homa Bay
Duration: 6 Months (March 1 to Aug 31)
Application Period: 11-Jan to 8-Feb (Midnight)
Background: The University of Washington, Georgetown University, and Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network (KELiN) have come together on an exploratory study assessing community perspectives on HIV testing and disclosure practices in Kenya.
Kenyan health authorities and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are aggressively scaling-up HIV testing strategies with hopes of achieving greater testing rates overall and specifically among certain key populations and at-risk groups: sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who use injection drugs, and young women under 24 years old.
HIV testing and disclosure of status to third parties is vital towards achieving HIV prevention and control targets and getting people aware of their status and on treatment if need be.
Historically, however, these programs have skirted the legal and human rights of persons who are at risk for HIV. Privacy and confidentiality are important dimensions to human rights and protected under Kenyan law, and both testing and disclosure to third parties (such as to encourage someone to test for HIV themselves) require fully informed consent from the person who’s information is being shared.
These legal rights have not always been respected or protected, and where they are not the consequences from stigma, discrimination, and abuse may easily result. Over time, such instances might work against public health objectives to increase testing by dissuading persons at risk for HIV to test at all.
Ensuring proper legal and human rights awareness and protections can then support both the human rights of people living with or at risk for HIV and the public health objectives of increased testing and use of notification services to identify other persons for testing.
This study will discuss openly, yet with privacy and confidence itself, the concerns and perspectives of persons who are vulnerable to HIV. Similarly, the study will interview health care workers and policy implementers to gauge their perspective on improvements made, or that must be made, in training and outreach.
The goal for the study is to identify what is working well as part of the scale-up, what could work better with suggested interventions, and how a human rights-based approach to HIV testing and disclosure can promote trust and confidence in the health care system.
The responsibilities for this position may include:
- Legislative and policy literature reviews, particularly related to HIV, privacy and confidentiality. Summaries of current plans and strategies in Kenya and East Africa for scaled-up HIV testing and disclosure
- Screen and recruit potential study participants, act as contact-person for partner NGOs facilitating the study
- Perform consenting procedures for all study participants
- Conduct/moderate interviews and focus-group discussions for the study participants using the study data collection tools
- Ensure that all participants are effectively de-identified in any documentation or recording
- Ensure study data collection tools are completed with utmost accuracy and transmitted for safe storage
- Translate Kiswahili-to-English notes, audio recordings, or similar raw data; act as person of contact with any outside transcription or translation services for Kiswahili-to-English; ensure that translations and transcriptions are meticulously accurate and reflective of the original discussion
- Perform data analysis from focus group discussions and interviews including coding for patterns and outliers in responses in collaboration with the Principal Investigator and study team
- Perform other duties as assigned by Principal Investigator
Required Minimum Qualifications & Experience:
- At least diploma-level qualification in a health related field; legal training preferred (JD, LL.B, LL.M)
- Research and writing experience; HIV, key population, and similar pertinent subject matter preferred
- Good written and verbal communication skills in English and Kiswahili
- Basic skills in computer software packages (Word, Excel, etc)
- Ability to work independently as well as under directive guidance from Principal Investigator; we value collaboration, not hierarchy
- Experience in conducting qualitative research and using qualitative research software and data visualization software (such as Tableau) will be advantageous
- Experience discussing sensitive matters is an added advantage; this position requires excellent interpersonal skills, compassion, and understanding
- Experience conducting and coordinating focus groups and interviews highly advantageous
- Experience with persons living with or at risk for HIV is added advantage, including key populations and vulnerable groups
- A non-judgmental, open mind and heart are necessary; our work involves persons with stigmatized lives or lifestyles, and these discussions can become emotional for everyone. The RA must have an empathetic heart while keeping discussions on track
- Familiarity, experience, or training in Kenyan laws and international human rights materials pertaining to HIV strongly preferred and advantageous
- Familiarity with Kenyan health organizations (NACC, NASCOP, etc.), PEPFAR and PEPFAR-funded programming is an advantage
What We Offer
This position is compensated for its 6 month duration, beginning in late February/early March 2019.
We may discuss alternative time commitments if either Part-time or Full-time are preferred, however this position comes with high expectations for commitment and quality.
The final deliverable(s) will be published in international journals focused on health and human rights.
You will be working with one of the most prominent NGOs in health and human rights; if interested and able, additional tasks with KELiN’s other work may be assigned. Future employment with KELiN is neither promised nor should be expected.
Training and experience in research field work: data collection, community engagement and liaison, data analysis, and publication.
How Applicants will be Screened: Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a 3-person interview in January/February.
Applications will be considered and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis; all applications must be received by midnight, 8-February, 2019.
How to Apply:
Submit, in PDF or Word Doc
1) a CV (no more than 2 pages);
2) a cover letter (1 page); and
3) 2 professional references (professors, recent supervisors)
Neil Sircar, Principal Investigator, firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Tracy Nyenze, email@example.com